Deceived By the Lights

It was dark, rain was falling, and the wind was howling as a typhoon approached the Chiang Kai-shek Airport in Taipei, Taiwan.  There were decisions to be made by the air traffic controllers and the pilots awaiting departure.

Passengers had boarded Singapore Airlines flight 006 and the plane was ready for departure. The decision was made to depart and flight 006 was cleared for takeoff on runway O5L. The weather was bad, but it had yet to reach the point where takeoff was considered too dangerous. Operations at the airport had not yet been interrupted by the approaching typhoon.

The pilot taxied the Boeing 747 toward the runway. Upon receiving final clearance, the huge jet engines rumbled with power, the brakes were released and the plane entered its takeoff roll. As the jetliner rumbled down the runway, it began to rise into the air when, suddenly, it slammed into the earth. Fire lit up the evening sky as rescue workers rushed to the scene, hoping to find survivors and provide aid. As they worked, the high winds pelted them with raindrops that were moving horizontally because of the impending storm.

Eighty two persons were killed. And in the aftermath of the accident many questions were raised.  Should a takeoff have been attempted when a typhoon was approaching?  Did wind shear, generated by the storm, serve as the reason that the plane to smash into the ground?  Why did this happen?

Investigators soon discovered that the disaster occurred not because of wind shear or attempting a takeoff in the face of an approaching typhoon.  Instead, the crash occurred because the plane was using the wrong runway, one that was closed due to construction.

As the plane was concluding its takeoff roll and began to lift into the air, its front wheel hit a concrete barrier that was located 4,950 feet down the runway. The plane then slammed into a crane which ripped open the belly of the plane.  According to one investigator “bodies just began to fall out.”  The plane broke into three parts after the crane “peeled open it’s underside.”  .

Why was it on the wrong runway? Why did the pilot turn onto runway O5R (right) instead of O5L (left)?  According to the news reports at the time, investigators focused on whether or not the closed runway,parallel to the plane’s assigned runway, was improperly lit, “inviting the pilot to make the fatal choice.”

The disaster resulted from being on the wrong runway.

The Bible tells us that life consists of a series of choices. We choose what we eat, where we will live, whom we will marry, whether or not we will attend church, and many other things.

We must all choose our pathway in life. We must all decide whether we will turn to the left or to the right. And at every point of decision, we have an external adversary (Satan) and an internal tug (the flesh) that together can make the wrong path seem right.

Paul, speaking about his struggles with the flesh or the sinful nature, said that he found a law that was at work in his life and it was this: “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (Romans 7:21). He felt that an intense, internal war was taking place as he struggled to choose the good and godly path in his life.

Christian, make no mistake about it, you and I struggle with the tug of sin. But we also have an adversary who, though he cannot possess us, wishes to oppress and even depress us. In his role as “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour”, Satan often lights up the wrong and dangerous path and makes it look very, very, appealing.

He will make wrong seem right. He will make the bitter appear to be sweet and the sweet appear to be bitter. He will confuse, lie, and in every possible way,  lead a person to make the wrong choice. His goal is to light up the wrong path, to make it look appealing, and to bring destruction.

Do not let anyone tell you that sin isn’t appealing. The Bible even says that people can choose to enjoy “the pleasures of sin” but they last only “for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). David enjoyed his night with Bathsheba, but the pleasure lasted only a season. Judas enjoyed getting those thirty silver coins in his hands when he betrayed Jesus, but that pleasure lasted only a season (Matthew 27:9).

And you and I can be allured by our adversary as he lights up the wrong runway, inviting us to make a fatal choice. You might think you are having a good time, but when you get ready to take off, disaster will strike. 

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